National Academies Select Leading Scientists for BOEM Committee on Ocean Energy Management The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced on Tuesday that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have selected 14 distinguished experts to serve on the new standing committee on environmental science and assessment for offshore energy and mineral resources. The committee will provide independent information on issues relevant to BOEM’s environmental studies and assessment activities and support discussions on relevant issues. The first meeting is scheduled for December 8 and 9 at the Academies in Washington, D.C.

“BOEM is honored to have these extraordinary scientists provide their guidance to the bureau on scientific matters,” said BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper. “We look forward to engaging with and learning from them as we continue to address complex offshore energy and marine mineral issues in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Scientists recover an ROV during fish surveys offshore the California coast. Photo by Ann Bull, BOEM.

The committee encompasses a broad range of expertise in both natural and social sciences, and relevant disciplines within those broad areas. They include ecology and habitat, sea ice, economics, noise, the application of science to policy and other topics. With their collective expertise in all four Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) regions, they bring a wealth of knowledge from their academic, industry, government and non-profit experience.

Members of the committee are:

Chair: Dr. Gary B. Griggs—University of California, Santa Cruz
Dr. Peter J. Auster—University of Connecticut
Mr. Deerin Babb-Brott—SeaPlan
Dr. Keith R. Criddle—University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Dr. Hajo Eicken—University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Dr. Paul G. Falkowski—Rutgers University
Dr. Mary (Missy) H. Feeley—ExxonMobil (Retired)
Dr. Mardi C. Hastings—Georgia Institute of Technology (Retired)
Dr. Bonnie J. McCay—Rutgers University
Dr. Richard McLaughlin—Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University
Dr. Jacqueline Michel—Research Planning, Inc.
Dr. Timothy J. Ragen—Marine Mammal Commission (Retired)
Dr. Mary Ruckelshaus—Stanford University
Dr. William C. Webster—University of California, Berkeley (Retired)

Committee members will provide their expertise and advice without compensation and are not required to be members of the Academies. The committee will meet several times a year, and may conduct workshops, studies or peer review documents relevant to BOEM’s environmental programs. The work will be purely advisory in nature, and will be limited to relevant independent and objective advice. It will not include recommendations on what policy or management decisions should be made.

BOEM’s Environmental Studies Program, which was authorized by the OCS Land Act, develops, funds, and manages rigorous scientific research to inform policy decisions regarding the development of energy and mineral resources on the OCS. The studies contribute to environmental reviews and the development of measures to protect sensitive resources from the potential impacts of ocean energy or non-energy mineral development. More information about BOEM’s environmental activities is available at Environmental Studies Program and Environmental Assessment.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, independent nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter signed by President Lincoln and granted to the NAS in 1863. More information on the committee’s processes and public participation is available at the National Academies website (http://dels.nas.edu/osb).

The committee’s services will be provided under a three-year contract between BOEM and the Academies that was announced in June 2015. The committee has been appointed for one year, subject to renewal. Through BOEM’s partnership with the academies, committee expertise encompasses both natural and social sciences, and relevant disciplines within those broad areas as warranted, such as ecology and population biology, physical and chemical oceanography and marine archaeology. The Ocean Studies Board will oversee the committee in collaboration with the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources.

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